How to Stay Safe on Craigslist
How to Sell Your Old Gadgets on Craigslist
Chances are that you have some old appliances that lie about your home you no longer use. Why not get some money for them? Craigslist is one of the best places to sell your unused trash, and you can list pretty much anything you want. However, when it comes to selling your gadgets at the best possible price, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Depending on where you live, a particular item may or may not be in great demand. Sometimes certain things sell very quickly, and sometimes salespeople wait with their thumbs for incoming inquiries. Either way, it's important to make the best listing possible so that hopefully you can sell your old gadget not only quickly and easily, but at the highest possible price.
First, should you use Craigslist to get started with?
There are definitely plenty of people out there who avoid, or at least approach with caution, Craigslist. It can undoubtedly be a questionable possibility of going under as there is no buyer protection whatsoever and there is a risk of being scammed or robbed.
CONNECTED:Where should I sell my things? eBay vs. Craigslist vs. Amazon
eBay is probably the next best option, they sell pretty much anything. eBay has a much wider reach, but the site charges a portion of your sales as a fee for using its service, which Craigslist doesn't offer. In addition, you must have problems shipping goods that you sell to the buyer.
This is why larger items that would be a hassle for shipping like furniture, televisions, or larger devices like computer monitors are great for sale on Craigslist. But that doesn't mean it can't be great for smaller items like cell phones and laptops too. It's just a matter of seeing if there is a bigger market for your item on one website or the other. Search the website for items similar to the ones you sell and indicate what prices they are being offered for.
Lastly, if you want to sell a broken gadget - which, by the way, is a great way to make some money after something dies - we've found that selling broken things on eBay is a lot easier than it is on Craigslist. EBay's greater reach and popularity with hobbyists increases the likelihood that you will sell the product for a reasonable price. There are always plenty of buyers scouring eBay for broken technology that they can eventually fix themselves.
With that in mind, if you've decided on Craigslist as the right place to sell your item, or if you want to try it out before resorting to eBay, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Find out what your item is worth
Before even listing anything on Craigslist, you should know what your gadget is worth. Not only do you want to get the largest amount of money possible, but you also don't want to drive people away at a price that is way too high.
Check out other Craigslist deals related to your item can give you a general idea of what other people are selling for, and it can be a great way to sell your old equipment at competitive prices. However, it doesn't necessarily have to tell you which items they are sale for - exactly what people are right now listing You for.
To this end, we also recommend visiting eBay, Swappa, and other online marketplaces to see what kind of item you have in general sold to the. Sometimes they sell more on these sites than on Craigslist. However, be aware of the seller fees, which are a percentage of your sale. In general, finding prices on some sites in addition to Craigslist should give you a pretty good idea of what your item is worth.
Leave room for negotiation with a slight markup
Once you've figured out what your old gadget is, add a slight markup to that price to make room for negotiation. Everyone on Craigslist wants to bargain, and when you build that into your price - much like it does with car dealerships - you are more likely to get what you want on the item. This way, the buyer believes they got a good deal by haggling, but you are still happy because you got what you wanted in return.
For example, if you were looking forward to $ 100, go for about $ 125 on an old smartphone and the buyer can bargain if they so choose. You can even renegotiate and sweeten the pot by offering to deliver or meet closer to where they live if you want to get top bucks for something, or vice versa. I have been known to drop the price on something when the buyer is ready to come to pick it up or meet closer to where I live. In fact, if you're patient, there's a good chance somebody will come along and pay the advertised price without bargaining.
However, if you run out of bites after a couple of weeks, it is probably time to lower your asking price to stay competitive.
Take the time to get a detailed and honest listing
Perhaps the number one rule when listing anything on Craigslist is frankly. Nobody benefits from lying or leaving out information related to your listings - you will both run away from disappointment.
For example, if you sell a smartphone, provide a detailed description of the specifications, model number, and any damage to the phone or buttons. You could get away with not mentioning some aspects of the item in the hopes that the buyer won't notice, but it's generally not worth taking a chance.
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In a similar context, make sure your listing includes good quality photos. I can't count the number of times I've seen a listing on Craigslist that is a sentence long, has no information, and has grainy, useless photos. When I come across such offers, I am doing exactly the same as many other potential buyers.
It has gotten to the point where I actually am surprised to find a listing with decent photos and a detailed, honest description. If you take the time to create a great offer, more potential buyers will be interested in it.
Lastly, clean up your item a little and make it look pretty. Of course, you shouldn't necessarily hide flaws (like damage, etc.), but at least dust them off or remove stains, smudges, nicks, etc., before taking photos of them. A little cleaning goes a long way towards keeping your device looking great. It also helps to have the original packaging and accessories, although it is not strictly necessary.
Watch out for fraud
While it seems like buyers are more likely to be scammed, it can happen to sellers too. There are a lot of people out there trying hard to get you a quick one.
A popular scam is when a buyer offers you more money than what you ask, but you are asked to return the difference to them. Usually they give you a check and after you cash it you return the rest, but the check eventually bounces and you're hooked for the full amount.
You can also tell if a scammer has contacted you by texting you and detailing the listing title of your item. When you see:
BRAND NEW Beats By Dre PowerBeats 2 Wireless, Black - $ 120 (Hillcrest) Still available pls?
Hey, do you still have the beats to sell?
That usually means it's a bot that is sending bulk texts to a group of Craigslist sellers in hopes of finding a few to scam. If you reply, they'll almost certainly come back asking you to send money through Western Mutual and have the product shipped to an address for their cousin.
In fact, anytime a buyer wants to give you money, other than cash, it is likely a scam. Also, avoid shipping products - some shipping requests may be legitimate but they don't have protection like eBay does. (And if you're willing to go through the hassle of shipping it, sell it on eBay anyway.)
Overall, spying on a fake or a scam is pretty easy - you just have to be on your guard. Just make sure the buyers are there and they are only accepting cash.
If you can, meet in a public place
Perhaps one of the best selling tips (or to buy something on Craigslist) is to meet in a public place. This could be a parking lot or even a coffee shop. Just make sure there are other people around and that it is well lit. The visibility of surveillance cameras also helps.
There are a number of reasons why you should, this is number one as it stops you from getting robbed or doing any other fun business. It also prevents people from knowing where you live, which isn't really a big deal, but it does mean you know the buyer won't knock on your door when you sell something because the item eventually broke or he needs help or something.
When you can't meet in a public place because you're selling a large item that you can't just toss in your car and drive off. Then at least meet in your driveway or garage and don't let the buyer in. You can even set up your phone and record a video of the transaction for extra security.
We mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating: never accept any form of payment other than cash. A check can bounce, and any form of online payment, like PayPal, can give the buyer an opportunity to protest and say they never received the item, so PayPal can offer the buyer a refund.
In addition, if you are selling a product: Requires a test drive where you must take the item away - like a car - and have cash in hand beforehand. If they destroy it or steal it, at least you will have the cash from the sale.
When requesting cash, the buyer may want something like the title in return, in case you decide to run away with the money, but that's entirely up to you how you want to deal with it.
In the end, selling something on Craigslist isn't that hard, and it's one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get rid of your old stuff. Plus, Craigslist isn't that scary, and while you might come across someone looking for a five-finger discount, few are - most people are just looking for a new coffee table at a good price. Be careful and keep your wits about you and you will be fine.
Photo credit Neo_II / Flickr, Sylvar / Flickr, Vasile Cotovanu / Flickr
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